Several Idaho financial institutions have announced changes recently.
Desert Sage, Pioneer credit unions merge
Two Idaho-based credit unions that were each formed in the early 1950s have decided to merge.
“Desert Sage Federal Credit Union was originally named TASCO Employees Credit Union and served Amalgamated Sugar Company employees and their families,” explained Elizabeth Thomas, vice president of marketing and development at Pioneer Federal Credit Union, in an email message. At the time of the merger, it was a community chartered credit union and members could join if they lived, worked or attended school or church in Nampa or Caldwell, she added.
The two credit unions first began merger talks last year. “COVID-19, 2020 was a challenging year for our whole country,” Thomas said. “COVID-19 impacted Desert Sage and its financial standing.” This led it to pursue a merger at a much more rapid pace with Pioneer so its members could move to a more financially stable credit union, she said. “In the scope of credit unions, Desert Sage is smaller in size and, as the market has changed, it had become difficult to maintain products, services, and technology that most banking customers expect today,” she explained.
Such mergers aren’t unusual. Horizon Credit Union and Icon Credit Union have also merged in the past year.
Bright Bank opens new branch
As expected, Bright Bank opened its third Treasure Valley branch, this one in Eagle. Located at the Bridges at Lakemoor, it is led by Treasure Valley banker Chasity Moore, who will be the vice president and branch manager. The Eagle branch will include Saturday banking from 9 am to 1 pm.
Bright Bank launched in June of 2020 in the historic Hoff Building located in downtown Boise. The second branch, the Fairview Village branch — located at 4250 East Fairview Ave. at the East Fairview and North Venture St. intersection — opened in February. The company had originally said in October 2020 that it expected to open the Meridian branch in December 2020.
The bank had originally intended to call itself Alpine State Bank, but changed its name to Bright Bank in June 2020 before officially opening after ascertaining that there was another bank with Alpine in its name in the region.
Bright Bank had announced in December 2019 that it expected to open its first Idaho branch in February, but found its plans disrupted by the COVID-19 coronavirus. Nonetheless, despite the downtown branch not being officially open, the bank was already been conducting business by offering loans through the Paycheck Protection Program from the federal government.
STCU fully opens all branches
STCU, a Spokane, Washington-based credit union with branches in northern Idaho, has reopened all its branches.
STCU has 28 branch locations in eastern Washington, northern Idaho, the Washington Tri-Cities and the Columbia Basin. While drive-through lanes and ATMs remained open, the credit union closed some of its lobbies starting in March 2020. That move allowed STCU to allocate more resources to higher-volume branch locations, and provide more flexibility for staff scheduling as schools shifted to remote learning, the company said in a statement.
STCU said it had added five branch locations during the pandemic and that it expects to have 35 branch locations by year’s end, up from 22 at the start of the pandemic.
STCU continues to ask members and staff to abide by social distancing guidelines, and to wear masks if they’re not fully vaccinated.